Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs

First published:
10 January 2019
Last updated:

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On 3 January, an oil leak from a fuel line occurred at the jetty at Valero, Pembrokeshire. An estimated 7 to 10 cubic meters of heavy fuel was released into the South side of the Milford Haven waterway West of Valero T Head, resulting in a visible slick in the waterway.

An Oil Pollution Contingency Plan is in place and has brought together a multi-agency response team which includes the Milford Haven Port Authority, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Milford Haven Coastguard and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Through my officials, I am in regular contact with the response team via NRW.

A clean-up operation commenced immediately with recovery at sea. Booms have been deployed and beach clean-up initiated where applicable. A small amount of oil continues to come ashore at Dale and to minimise the possible impact, a boom has been deployed at Sandy Haven and the Gann estuary as a precaution to protect the vulnerable saltmarsh areas.

Valero is providing the staffing and funding for the clean-up operation, working with NRW and the local authorities who are providing advice and guidance on the clean-up and overseeing monitoring of the area. Surveys continue to be carried out of the coastline and NRW have issued an enforcement notice to suspend the use of 2 fuel pipelines on the Valero Refinery jetty in Milford Haven.

Whilst the incident was serious, the leak was stopped quickly and the loss of oil limited. The scale of pollution is currently under evaluation. Very little oil has made landfall and the slick is no longer visible which suggests the oil has sunk or is below the surface. There are some sensitive sea bed habitats in this location, therefore, further evaluation will be needed. The booms deployed will remain in place to protect the saltmarsh and shoreline clean-up will continue as required.

NRW have maintained a presence in the area to co-ordinate any clean up required and to work with Valero to minimise the impact and ensure the risk of further incidents are minimised.

I will keep Members updated with any further developments.